Greenwood police officer suspended after parking lot incident

Officer Nick Dine reportedly got in a confrontation outside an Applebee's.

Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Greenwood - A Greenwood Police officer was placed on unpaid leave this week and faces a disciplinary hearing over an allegation that he left a baby unattended in his car.

On October 29th, Officer Nick Dine was seen parking in front of the Applebee's restaurant on State Road 135 in Greenwood. A witness, William Shafer, reported to police that Dine left a baby unattended in the car, which was Dine's personal vehicle.

Shafer told Sgt. James Ison, who responded to the call, that he saw Officer Dine go into the Applebee's, exit almost immediately and then go next door to the O'Charley's restaurant, returning within about five minutes.

"We were busy, he parked somewhere in the parking lot, we were busy, he came in and found we were busy and ran over to O'Charley's to see if they were busy and, at that time, he must have left his kid in there," an Applebee's employee said.

Shafer told police he confronted Dine about leaving the baby unattended in the car. When Shafer told Dine he would call the police, Officer Dine is alleged to have produced a badge and said, "I am the police."

After that, Shafer said Dine took out a firearm from an ankle holster and put it in his back pocket. Shafer also said Dine asked him and the group of people he was with if they were "rednecks" who lived in a "trailer."

Sgt. Ison reported that he smelled alcohol on Dine, who refused to submit to a portable breath test. Sgt. Ison asked Dine to accompany him to the Greenwood Police Department, where Dine again refused to submit to the breath test.

Friday afternoon, Eyewitness News went to Officer Dine's house to ask him about the allegation of pulling his gun after leaving his child in the car. The officer pulled into his driveway, talking on the phone, but he never got out of his car, putting it in reverse, pulling out of the driveway and speeding off.

No one answered a knock at the officer's door before he came home, but it turned out a relative was home.

It turns out, Officer Dine called the police station from his driveway. Two marked cars showed up to make sure our news crew stayed off the lawn.

"He has asked that you guys stay off his personal property," an officer said.

The relative in the home had officers put her car back in the garage and left in a hurry a few minutes later.

David Mertz, the assistant police chief, said a conduct review board found that Dine violated several rules and regulations. Dine faces up to five days suspension without pay.

No one at the police department returned calls after Eyewitness News left messages about the case. In a press release, the department says one of the investigating officers smelled alcohol on Officer Dine, but he twice refused a portable breath test.